Nightmare Death Syndrome is a phenomenon reported among certain men of Thailand, who are apparently being killed in their sleep by spirits known as “widow ghosts.” These are said to be the ghosts of particularly sexual womenwho met a violent death. Now, they’re out to kill men and take their souls as husbands.
A widespread panic over the widow ghosts broke out in northeastern Thailand in 1990. Since the ghosts only attacked men, some young Thai fellows took to wearing lipstick and nail polish in bed in order to trick the spirits into thinking they were actually women. Yet the main strategy for warding off the ghosts was penises hung around the neck or in close proximity to the sleeping man.
Most were carved from wood, some more crude than others. Some artistic types added testicles made of coconuts, and pubic hair made from fishing nets. The residents of Ban Thung Nang Oak were very proud of their giant communal phallus, which was almost a meter (3 ft) long and had a red tip.
One couple crafted an entire scarecrow with the relevant appendage, and hung a sign around its neck that read “widow ghost hunter.” In one village, there were rumors that the ghosts had finally acquired enough husbands, and the spirits were going to start seeking out female companions as well.
There’s actually a proper explanation for these ghost attacks, which have caused hundreds of deaths over the years. Autopsies revealed that the men had died due to poor nutrition. Many lived on a diet of nothing but sweet rice, which led to overproduction of insulin and a bunch of nutrient deficiencies. Combined with stress, the awful diets were enough to kill men in their sleep.